Thursday, 23 June 2011

Dolphin Watching in Queen Charlotte Sound

Cruise Queen Charlotte Sound to Picton
We knew that after leaving Picton in the early evening we'd have a couple of hours scenic cruising in Queen Charlotte Sound. What we didn't expect was being escorted part of the way by a pod of bottlenose dolphins. Leaping and diving, they surfed the bow wave, so close to the ship I felt as if I could have touched them. It was a great sight to see.
 Queen Charlotte Sound is a beautiful part of New Zealand, best seen from the water.  Here at the top of the South Island the land divides into long peninsulars, like fingers lying on the sea. The bush covered hills run down to the shore. Sometimes, in the picturesque little coves, fur seals can be seen sunning themselves on the rocks.  Now some of the isolated bays have a holiday house or two, accessible only by boat. In the 19th century whaling stations were established along the shores of the Sounds. The whole area has a rich Maori heritage.
 Captain Cook was a fan of the Marlborough Sounds. As the first European explorer to these waters  he charted the coastline and stayed for a time in Ships Cove. Its freshwater spring and sheltered anchorage were a relief after being weeks in rough seas.
   We had been days in calm seas. Onwards now, and fingers crossed for a smooth sailing when we leave the shelter of the sounds and go into Cook Strait. Next port of call is Akaroa.    

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